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					Two new faster and more flexible large fire retardants planes will be trialled as part of
Victoria 鈥檚 firefighting arsenal which will also be boosted by the use of night
vision helicopter goggles and infrared imaging technology.
  Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings today announced that the
Victorian Government would invest $12 million for two new Convair 580 fire
retardants manufacturer bomber planes, a new Erikson Aircrane and four extra
fixed-wing aircraft for the upcoming fire season.
  The new aircraft will join Erikson Aircranes Elvis and Elsie and bring Victoria 鈥檚
aerial firefighting arsenal to 48 with a further 170 aircraft on standby if required.
  The trial of the two new fire retardants bombers will replace a trial last year of a
Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT) following an assessment by the National Bushfire
Co-Operative Research Centre that its use was less effective in Victorian firefighting
  Mr Jennings said the new Convair fire retardants manufacturer bombers had the
capacity to carry and drop 8000 litres of water or fire retardant and will be deployed at
airfields around the state wherever needed to provide flexibility to firefighting efforts.
  鈥?/span>We have made big changes to how we prepare for and fight fire retardants
since the tragic Black Saturday and Gippsland fires, including investing over $1
billion towards the firefighting and reconstruction effort,鈥?Mr Jennings said.
  鈥?/span>Our Government 鈥檚 strong economic management means that our State
Budget has the capacity to fund new measures as we undertake fundamental reforms
to make our State as fire-safe and fire-ready as possible.
  鈥?/span>These aircraft can refill very quickly, delivering rapid response which can
significantly increase their impact during fire retardants manufacturer especially in the
crucial early stages of an outbreak.
  鈥?/span>The great advantage of these aircraft is the flexibility they provide in
firefighting. They are proven first attack aircraft and can travel at fast speeds of up to
500km/h which means they can reach fire retardants anywhere in the state in about 30
  鈥?/span>Each Convair 580 bomber can carry 8000 litres of water or fire retardants
manufacturer retardant and two of them can be used to fight fire retardants in tandem,
which is a big advantage in tackling fires.
  鈥?/span>In addition, our airfleet will receive the use of at least four more fixed
wing aircraft which will be used for the faster detection of new fires and the
observation of existing fires. Elvis and Elsie will be joined by a new Erikson Aircrane.
  Mr Jennings said the trial conducted by the Bushfire Cooperative Research Council
(CRC) over the last fire season showed that the DC 10 VLAT was not suitable for
Victorian conditions, in particular use around the urban interface.
  鈥?/span>The VLAT Project Control Board considered the findings from the
Bushfire CRC which found the aircraft would be less effective in suppressing
Victorian bushfires and would not be suitable for use around the urban interface
where the forest meets communities of relatively high populations,鈥?Mr Jennings
 鈥?/span>This was because the VLAT, which can carry more than 40 tonnes of
water or retardant, was found to have the potential to cause serious injury should the
load fall on a person. There was also the potential for the aircraft to destroy the
property it was attempting to protect.
 鈥?/span>The testing found that under even mild fire retardants weather conditions
retardant lines put down by the VLAT did not provide a significant barrier to the
spread of fires in grass or forest.
 鈥?/span>It was also determined the aircraft was limited in its use in Victoria
because it could only be based at Avalon airfield and could not land or take off at any
regional airfield that might be closer to a fire retardants manufacturer.
 鈥?/span>The findings were assessed in conjunction with a report by Deloitte which
found the aircraft was a significantly higher cost option than other aircraft.鈥?/span>
 鈥 ?/span>As a result the Bushfire CRC made specific recommendations to
Government that the VLAT should not be commissioned.鈥?/span>
 Mr Jennings said the funding would be used to upgrade Victoria 鈥檚 aircraft
dispatch system over the next four years to provide more rapid dispatch of aircraft
around the state.
 鈥?/span>The State Aircraft Unit will also trial a high tech intelligence platform, an
鈥榚 ye in the sky 鈥?to transmit fire retardants data back to Incident Control Centres,
providing faster and better real-time information on a fire 鈥檚 progress,鈥?he said.
 鈥?/span>New airborne infrared cameras attached to a number of our helicopters
will replace outdated equipment and allow pinpoint hotspot mapping and real time
video streaming in difficult conditions, such as thick smoke.
 鈥?/span>Up to $100,000 has been committed to continuing the development of
night vision goggle operations this fire retardants manufacturer season. The trial
which will assist firefighters to safely fly night missions and expand night-time
planned burning.
 鈥?/span>It is imperative that we continue to test the boundaries of aerial detection
and suppression in order to make Victoria as fire retardants ready as we possibly can.
 The Convair 580s are expected to arrive in Victoria later this year and will be based
at airports around Melbourne and throughout the state including Avalon, Mangalore,
Sale and Mildura